Valentine’s Day: It’s all about love
By Joe Olvera ©, 2013
Aliyah Isabel Garcia is only five years old, but, she already knows about love.
Are you in love with anyone, we asked her? “Yes,” she replied. In love with whom? “Justin
Bieber” Why him? “Because of the way he sings.” But, he already has a girlfriend, and
her name is Selena Gomez. “That’s okay, I’m not going to marry him or anything. I just
like him because of the way he sings.” Oh, so you don’t love him, you just like him. “Well
whatever. But, I do know what Valentine’s Day is for.”
And so do people all over the world, including, of course, El Paso. Also known as
Saint Valentine’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, the unofficial holiday takes second
place only to New Year’s Day as the day most observed by different people in different parts
of the world. Observed on February 14 each year, it remains a working day for followers.
However, it’s when the loved one comes home after a day of work that the fun begins.
But, before the fun begins, a little history. For lovers both young and old, they
have Chaucer to thank for turning what was a religious observance into one with
romantic connotations when he wrote his “Valentines” in the 14th century. The first
recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules,
written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382. He wrote: “For this was on Valentine’s Day,
when every bird cometh there to choose his mate (English translation). Chaucer
wrote his poem to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II
to Anne of Bohemia. Oh, yes, and they were both young, only 15.
Since then, sonnets, poems, romantic verses and many other tomes of
love have been written by, for, and about loved ones. Valentine’s Day cards,
proclaiming a love for one another have been on the scene since the 19th century
cast in so many different forms that they were cast in factories and sold around
the world. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons. In the United States
the first mass-produced Valentines made of embossed paper lace were produced
and sold shortly after1847 by Esther Howland of Worcester, Mass.
Thus, from greeting cards professing love, to all manner of gifts such as
chocolate hearts wrapped in satin, candy hearts with romantic sayings such as “Roses
are red, violets are blue, monkeys like you belong in the zoo.” Wait a minute, that’s not
a romantic saying. But, anyway, Valentines’ Day has become such big business that
the U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that about 190 million Valentines cards
are sold each year. Half of those cards are given to family members – mostly children –
not just husbands and wives. But, wait, it gets better. In the 1980s diamonds became a
great gift for a loved one, mostly women. So, will Aliyah Isabel Garcia give a diamond gift
to Justin Bieber? “No, I don’t even know what that is. But, I still love him.”